Brunch at Local 188 (Portland, Maine)
Local 188 is a mainstay in Portland since 1999, originally located across the street from its current location, this laid-back eatery is one of the original farm-to-table trendsetters in the area with owner Jay Villani at the helm creating an innovative menu that draws on Spain and the Mediterranean.
Local 188 has a relaxed, bohemian vibe with mismatched lounge furniture, including big, comfy couches and retro chairs. It’s a spacious restaurant that can accommodate a variety of needs – dinner, drinks, appetizers, late-night munching – and a mix of patrons.
Brunch is a big deal here that people started to line up outside the restaurant about fifteen minutes prior to opening (the restaurant doesn’t take reservations for brunch). We got seated and started off with mugs of cappuccino and latte and for me, iced chai latte and ordered our food.
We started off with the pastry of the day, which was the strawberry turnover made with local berries. The pastry itself could be baked a little more for my textural preference but we really adored the intense, ripened sweetness from the strawberry filling. The overall sweetness of the pastry was just right.
The burger with an over easy egg, bacon jam and cheddar is an incredibly flavorful burger and it always helps for almost any brunch dish to have a yolky egg on top. The burger was cooked to the requested medium-rare. The bacon jam added some umami, smoky flavors that works beautifully with the burger.
The Leg & Egg is a confitted and fried chicken leg, eggs over easy with the sides of Anson Mills grits and biscuit. The Southern inspired dish was very hearty and tasty, especially the juicy chicken leg. The creamy grits was cheesy and delicious.
The BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich was a classic and it’s a great time to have it since the sweet tomatoes are at its peak now. The proportion of tomato, bacon and lettuce was just right and it’s satisfying.
If there’s something unique on the menu that you seek, the breakfast paella will do the trick and it can easily be shared between two people. The rice itself could be cooked a little longer (I like to have my socarrat, the crusty part of the rice that forms when the starches caramelizes on the bottom of the pan) but it’s generous on the sliced bacon, chicken, clams and eggs.
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685 Congress St
Portland, ME 04102
Phone: (207) 761-7909